A sleeping pad is part of the standard equipment for every camping trip. Camping mats are available in a wide variety of designs. Chosen correctly, this contributes significantly to the sleeping comfort and protects against cold, roots and other bumps. When buying an insulation mat, you should pay particular attention to the following properties:
R-value: The insulation effect of a mat can be read on the basis of the R-value. This refers to the thermal resistance of a material and describes how well the camping mat insulates against cold on the ground. The higher the R-value, the higher the degree of insulation and the thicker, heavier and also more expensive the mat often is. The thickness is created either by foam or air chambers. While an R-value between 1-3.5 is sufficient for camping trips in the warm half of the year, an R-value of 4.5 or more is recommended for use in winter. For polar expeditions, products with a value of more than 6.5 are used.
Weight: Especially for multi-day hikes, the weight of the trekking mat is a decisive factor. The longer the tour, the more recommended is the use of an ultralight model (up to 600 grams). If you prefer to stay in the same place for a few days, you can choose heavier versions to increase comfort.
Design: A distinction is made between classic foam mats, mouth or pump inflatable and self-inflating trekking mats. Foam mats are mainly suitable for occasional use in rather warm outdoor temperatures or at open airs and festivals. Inflatable insulation mats tend to be a bit more comfortable and easy to store, but are also more susceptible to damage. The self-inflating mats have very good insulation and cushioning.